The 1960s in British cinema was a time of great change and innovation. From the ground-breaking films of Alfred Hitchcock to the classic comedy of The Beatles, the decade saw an explosion of creativity and new ideas that shaped the way we think about films today. For those looking for a comprehensive overview of the decade's films, reviews of 1960s British films are an invaluable source of information. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the best films released in the UK during the 1960s, including reviews and ratings of each film, as well as a look at how they have stood the test of time.
We'll start by taking a look at some of the most acclaimed films from the decade, such as Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey', Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho', and 'The Sound of Music', as well as some lesser-known gems like 'The Italian Job' and 'The Servant'. We'll then delve into the various genres that defined the decade, from horror to musicals, and examine how they developed over time. Finally, we'll explore how the films of this era have been received in more recent years, and what modern-day audiences make of them. The 1960s in Britain was a period of tremendous growth in filmmaking, with a number of classic films being released. This article provides an overview of some of the most notable films from this era, as well as critical assessments of their quality.
It will also explore the evolution of British film criticism over the course of the decade. The decade began with a number of groundbreaking films, such as Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and John Boorman's Point Blank (1967). These films were widely praised for their innovative approaches to storytelling and cinematography. Other notable films from the decade include Ken Loach's Kes (1969), Lindsay Anderson's If.... (1968) and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).The decade also saw a shift in the way that British film critics approached their reviews. The 1960s saw the emergence of a more analytical approach to film criticism, with reviewers focusing on themes and ideas rather than simply providing an assessment of the film's quality.
This new approach was exemplified by film critics such as Robin Wood, who wrote extensively about the underlying messages in films. In addition to the critical reviews of individual films, the 1960s also saw a growth in discussion around broader trends in British cinema. For example, critics noted the increasing popularity of genre films, such as Hammer Horror, which saw a resurgence during the decade. Another trend that was widely discussed was the emergence of the British New Wave, which saw a number of independent filmmakers pushing boundaries in terms of form and content. The 1960s was also a period in which British cinema began to gain international recognition. Filmmakers such as Michael Powell and Karel Reisz were nominated for Academy Awards, while other British films, such as The Servant (1963), were widely praised by international critics.
Notable FilmsThe 1960s were a groundbreaking era for British film, with a plethora of classic films released.
Notable films from the decade include 'Psycho' (1960), directed by Alfred Hitchcock and based on the novel of the same name. Starring Anthony Perkins, the film follows a young man who develops a split personality after murdering his mother and her lover. 'If....' (1968) was directed by Lindsay Anderson and starred Malcolm McDowell, depicting a dystopian vision of an English boarding school. Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' (1968) is one of the most iconic science-fiction films of all time, with its groundbreaking special effects still lauded today.
Ken Loach's social-realist drama 'Kes' (1969) was widely acclaimed for its honest portrayal of working-class life in Yorkshire. Lastly, 'Point Blank' (1967) was a crime thriller directed by John Boorman, starring Lee Marvin as a man seeking revenge.
Evolution of Film CriticismThroughout the 1960s, the emergence of new approaches to film criticism saw a shift in the way British films were assessed. This began to be reflected in the reviews that appeared in newspapers and magazines, as well as in the kinds of films that were being made. One of the most important developments was the emergence of analytical criticism, which was led by film critics such as Robin Wood, who argued for a more in-depth analysis of films.
Other critics, such as Raymond Durgnat and V.F. Perkins, took up this approach, focusing on the themes and meanings of a film, rather than simply its entertainment value. This more analytical approach to criticism was further developed in the late 1960s with the emergence of auteur theory, which argued that a director's vision was the most important factor in interpreting a film. This approach was popularized by writers such as Andrew Sarris and Pauline Kael, and was seen as a challenge to the traditional methods of assessing films.
The emergence of these new approaches to film criticism had a profound effect on British filmmaking. It encouraged filmmakers to take risks and pursue more creative visions, rather than simply aiming for commercial success. This helped to create a vibrant and diverse film culture in Britain, which has since been seen as one of the great centres of world cinema.
International RecognitionThe 1960s saw a major shift in the way British films were perceived both domestically and abroad. As the decade progressed, British cinema began to gain international recognition thanks to its bold vision, experimental styles, and unique characters.
These movies were praised for their daring depictions of social issues, and the critical reviews of these films helped to elevate the status of British films in the eyes of international audiences. One of the most influential films of this period was Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. This classic horror film was praised by critics for its innovative camera techniques and its daring exploration of psychological themes.
Psychoalso received multiple Academy Award nominations, and it helped to demonstrate to the world that Britain could produce world-class films. Other British films from the 1960s that received international acclaim include The Servant, Lawrence of Arabia, and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. All of these movies were praised by critics for their innovative storytelling techniques and thought-provoking themes.
The success of these films helped to demonstrate that British filmmakers could create sophisticated works that could compete with Hollywood blockbusters. The critical success of these films led to a surge in the popularity of British cinema, particularly in Europe and the United States. As a result, British filmmakers began to gain more respect in the eyes of international audiences, and some even achieved international fame.
Critical AssessmentFilm Criticism in the 1960s The 1960s saw a marked shift in the way British films were received and evaluated by critics. During this era, there was a greater emphasis on realism and naturalism, as well as a more critical approach to storytelling. As a result, many of the films released during this period were met with mixed reviews from both professional and amateur critics.
In particular, the rise of auteurism in British film criticism led to greater scrutiny of the works of individual directors. This focus on individual directors and their style meant that each director's work was judged on its own merits, rather than in relation to other films. This shift in critical reception allowed for a more nuanced evaluation of films and allowed for greater recognition of artistic ambition. Another notable development was the emergence of feminist film criticism, which sought to challenge traditional gender stereotypes and critique films from a feminist perspective.
This encouraged filmmakers to be more conscious of the gender dynamics of their work and helped to expand the range of stories being told onscreen. The 1960s also saw a rise in the number of publications dedicated to film criticism, such as Sight & Sound, which helped to popularise critical analysis in British cinema. This had a significant impact on the way films were received and evaluated, leading to more rigorous standards of critique.
Broad TrendsThe 1960s saw a major expansion in the variety of British films being produced. Genre films, such as horror, science fiction, and comedy, became increasingly popular, while the British New Wave began to emerge.
Genre FilmsIn the 1960s, genre films were immensely popular. Horror films such as Hammer Films' The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958) were box office hits, and Hammer went on to produce a string of horror films throughout the decade. Science fiction also had a resurgence in popularity during this period, with films such as Quatermass and the Pit (1967) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Comedy films were also popular, with Carry On... series gaining a huge following.
British New WaveThe 1960s also saw the emergence of the British New Wave. This movement was characterized by a focus on realism, often featuring working-class characters and gritty stories. Notable films from this movement include Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), A Taste of Honey (1961), and Billy Liar (1963).
Evolution of Film CriticismThe 1960s also saw major changes in the way film critics viewed and reviewed films.
The increasing popularity of genre films led to a more nuanced approach to criticism, with reviewers paying attention to how films fit within their genres. Additionally, the emergence of the British New Wave led to an appreciation for social realism in cinema, which was reflected in the reviews of these films. The 1960s were a period of tremendous growth in British filmmaking, with a number of classic films being released. This article has provided an overview of some of these films, as well as exploring how critical assessment evolved during the decade and how British cinema began to gain international recognition. It is clear that this was an important period for British cinema, with notable films that achieved widespread acclaim, a shift in critical appraisal, and increasing recognition of British films on the international stage.